On Monday morning, Rob loaded up the 18 turkeys he has been raising. Their time had come. With a pickup load of cages, he and Ja’Ana set off for the processing plant we use. It is 1-1/2 hours from our home. We use them because 1)They do an excellent job, 2)They are extremely reasonable in their pricing, 3)There aren’t many places around here that specialize in poultry.
It only took them about 1-1/2 hours to do the job. He had 5 cut up for us to grind into turkey burger, 1 cut in 1/2 (for the 2 single people on our gift list), and the rest left whole. Rob and Ja’Ana killed the wait time in a little diner, eating breakfast and visiting. It was good daddy-daughter time, for sure.
On the way home, they delivered turkeys to the relatives who were receiving them for Christmas. Last year, we did chickens and they were much appreciated. Ja’Ana wisely used the time to sell pies to all the relatives–she’s earning money for a retreat she wants to go on in January, and that is the fund-raiser to help with the cost of that. They picked Lovana up from work, and went to a friend’s house to borrow a meat grinder. It was a long day. They didn’t get home until around 6:30, where they got white bean chili or ham and beans from the crock pots. (I soaked too many navy beans, so made 2 things and will freeze the extra).
The 5 whole turkeys we are keeping, plus the 1 undelivered one went into the emptied chest freezer in the garage. The 5 cut-up ones went on ice in coolers until Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday morning, Rob cut the bones out of the breasts and thighs of the 5 turkeys. The drumsticks and wings were frozen in zip-top bags for future meals, 2 per package. The bones that were cut off, plus the necks and backs were frozen for broth making another day.
Then he ground it 2 times. We had 3 of these large Tupperware bowls full of the first grind. While he was grinding, he removed any tendons, stringy muscles, etc., whatever didn’t look like we wanted to eat it. He ground it twice to get those undesirable things out, and also to get a good mix between the light and dark meat.
During the second grind, Ja’Ana held the bags over the end of the grinder, and the finished burger was pushed into the bags by the machine. I wrote on the bags, twist-tied them, and generally ran back and forth, fetching and carrying things for Rob. I also took the finished bags, bones, meat pieces, etc. to the freezer and loaded it up. There was a pretty big mess to clean up afterwards.
When we were done, we had 32 approximately 1-pound packages (we did not weigh, but filled to a marked line on the bag) and Rob made 2 pans of meatloaf. We also have 5 whole turkeys, 10 drumsticks and 10 wings. I will get a lot of broth one of these days, and I will pressure can it into both pints and quarts. It was a very productive day and my 1 empty freezer is now full with the fruits of Rob’s labors.